Board finds SD Governor abused power over daughter’s real estate license

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Governor Kristi Noem (Getty)

A state ethics committee has found enough evidence to take ‘appropriate action’ against the South Dakota governor who interfered with his daughter’s application to become a real estate appraiser.

Three retired judges who make up South Dakota’s Government Accountability Board discovered Governor Kristi Noem may have ‘mistaken’ when her daughter, Kassidy Peters, was given a third chance to get her licensed as a real estate appraiser, CBS reported. The board also referred a separate complaint about Noem’s use of his state plane to the state attorney general for investigation.

After an hour-long meeting, the board voted unanimously to begin the process that will allow for a contested hearing where Noem, a Republican up for reelection this year, will have the chance to publicly defend herself against the allegations. .

In 2020, after a state agency denied Peters’ application for an appraiser’s license, Noem called a meeting with his daughter, the secretary of labor and the manager of the appraiser certification program to discuss a plan for Peters to have another chance to show how she could meet federal standards in her appraisal work.

Sherry Bren, who at the time was executive director of the office of state assessors, told a legislative committee that she felt “intimidated” at the meeting, which took place at the governor’s mansion.

Bren, who was pressured by the governor’s administration to retire a few months later, testified that the state’s handling of Peters’ request was unusual since his denial was the result of gaps in his work.

Noem’s spokesman, Ian Fury, told the outlet that the council’s action does “not follow the law or state precedent.”

“They have yet to report a single law that the governor violated in either complaint,” Fury said in a statement.

Former state attorney general Jason Ravnsborg, a Republican who was impeached and removed from office after he killed a man in a traffic accident and filed lawsuits against Noem that were later dismissed, said she should face repercussions.

“Governor. Noem should be fully investigated for his abuse of power by obtaining his daughter an appraiser’s license,” Ravnsborg said in a statement. He also said she “should be prosecuted for his criminal use of state resources for personal gain”.

—Victoria Pruitt

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